Thursday, June 19, 2008

CLARA BEE & THE LE MANS

Last December I was visiting Palm Springs when this seriously distressed Pontiac Le Mans caught my eye. The ick green, primer looking paint, the weird Pontiac angles exaggerated by bashed body work - all set against a rusty red building - of course I had to pull over and photograph it. Although I think these photos are okay, I never really got the shot that I "visualized" from the middle of the road driving by. When I got a closer look at the car, it cracked me up that it was a "Luxury" model. I believe this Le Mans is somewhere between a 1973 - 1975 model. I'm not sure what this Clara Bee place is, but I did some googling and it came up as the Clara Bee Lodge. Aside from the cool architecture and interesting sign fonts, it looked seriously rundown, vacant, and creepy, but who knows, maybe people are actually paying to stay there. Yikes.















Clara Bee and Pontiac Le Mans photos by Lydia Marcus. Photographed December 17, 2007 at the intersection of South Canyon Drive and 300 East Ramon Road, Palm Springs CA.

8 comments:

Just Plain Me said...

The "Clara Bee" has been here as long as I can remember. It was a "Women Only" Lodge back in the 60's and 70's. The green car was the last living resident's vehicle. She used to paint that car every other year with spray paint ...right there in front of the Clara Bee. Clara Bee is closed up now ...waiting for tear down .... There goes another piece of Palm Springs Section 14 History!

Lydia Marcus said...

omg thank you so much for this info! the clara bee and that car were full of so much mystery for me - it just seemed so oddball and out of place. the visual of her spray painting that car is absolutely priceless! thanks so much for your comment. sorry to hear about the impending tear down.

tinalymath said...

I actually lived there for a little while in 88 while transitioning from roommate to roommate.I think I was 19 and it was kind of cool. A lot of older women with wonderful historical stories of Palm Springs. you had to be in by 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. and no men allowed. We had a room and some with a sink in the room. We had to share a big community kitchen and bathroom and showers. it was a haven for some women who had no place to go. What a trip to see this again.

Lydia Marcus said...

thanks for your story about the clara bee!!! very interesting place and history. :-)

karen said...

wow! I was sitting and sharing some family history with my wife telling here about my Grandmother and her living in Palm Springs at the Clara Bee Lodge. We spent MANY days there through the years. Lots of Holidays and reunions. The swimming pool was my spot while we were there. I always thought how awesome it was to be swimming and looking up at the mountains with the snow on them. That was before the Tram was built. Her room was only big enough for a double bed and dresser. we had fun visiting with all the women (we were small children and they all loved to have kids visit) watching TV in the big living room in the front lobby area.this was in the early 60's. great memories for sure.

Star said...

Hi "Just Plain Me" and "tinalymath" I was trying to get more information on the Clara Bee Lodge. I was looking for a Sonja Nilsson who possibly managed the place. She would be around the age of 75 now and could possibly be my grandmother. Just trying to find her. Any help would be much appreciated. THanks

star.peterson@yahoo.com

Just Plain Me said...

I just heard on the Local News that the Clara Bee burned down this afternoon at 5:30. So sad ... it was a local landmark ... at least to me it was! I always wanted to see the inside and never went over there and just asked for a tour. I'm kicking myself now!

Lydia Marcus said...

oh that's too bad, but thanks for updating me. glad i pulled over to take those photos!